Small Beer from Barossa pur­veys porcine pro­duce

The Weekend Australian - Travel - - INDULGENCE -

FOODDe­tec­tive had a spring in her step as she went to meet Saskia Beer, daugh­ter of South Aus­tralian food leg­end Mag­gie. Pink-haired Beer ar­rived clutch­ing a range of char­cu­terie from her new The Black-Pig la­bel, hand­made from her­itage-breed Black Berk­shire pigs, said to pro­duce the best pork in the world due to the fine mar­bling of its meat, rather like a porcine equiv­a­lent of Wagyu beef.

Beer dis­cov­ered it when she met lo­cal farm­ers Colin and Joy Lein­ert at a Slow Food event in the Barossa four years ago. Colin won his first porker in a pigchas­ing com­pe­ti­tion and a busi­ness was born. Black Berk­shire pork is ‘‘ sweet, slightly nutty, has no greasy mouth-feel and has vastly su­pe­rior mar­bling and fat lev­els . . . it’s just made for small­go­ods’’, says Beer. Fit­tingly, her Black-Pig la­bel (prod­ucts from which have al­ready been picked up by the likes of Syd­ney’s Billy Kwong and Ice­bergs restau­rants) in­cludes salamis, hams, ba­con, pro­sciutto and chorizo, and it’s now be­ing dis­trib­uted across Aus­tralia. (08) 8562 3100; www.barossa­farm­pro­duce.com.

There’s a pancetta to come in a cou­ple of months and suck­ling pig hams will be re­leased for Christ­mas. De­tec­tive can’t wait. In ad­di­tion to her char­cu­terie range, Beer has been ex­pand­ing on the home front. Barossa Farm Pro­duce, which she runs with sis­ter Elli, is about to open a new func­tion cen­tre. ‘‘ We’ll be sup­ply­ing all the pro­duce for events: Barossa Chooks, lamb, pork, smoked duck and the like,’’ she tells De­tec­tive . And the first big event sched­uled? A ve­gan wed­ding. What were they think­ing?

WHENit comes to pork, television chef and restau­ra­teur Pete Evans is also some­thing of an afi­cionado. A pork belly, sweet and sour onions and radic­chio of­fer­ing helped his Hu­gos Bar Pizza at Syd­ney’s Kings Cross take out the world’s best pizza gong in New York in 2005. So it’s en­cour­ag­ing to see that Evans and his Hu­gos Group part­ners are ex­pand­ing their em­pire, too. Last week marked the open­ing of Hu­gos Manly, a bright and breezy beach­house styled restau­rant with a 10m bar at Syd­ney’s Manly Wharf. The 300-seater with out­door din­ing (twice the size of its Kings Cross sib­ling) is ex­pected to be­come one of Manly’s hottest new hang­outs.

That fa­mous pizza fea­tures on the ex­ten­sive mod­ern Ital­ian menu, along­side the likes of an ap­peal­ing­sound­ing 12-hour braised lamb shank. www.hu­gos.com.au.

RESTAU­RANT & Cater­ing NSW chief ex­ec­u­tive Robert Gold­man has launched a with­er­ing at­tack on the NSW Food Author­ity’s new nam­ing and sham­ing scheme, in which restau­rants and food out­lets breach­ing health and hy­giene laws are listed on the author­ity’s web­site. Television chef Bill Granger’s restau­rant at Syd­ney’s Dar­linghurst, Bills, was sin­gled out for not hav­ing a ther­mome­ter in its fridge. ‘‘( Does) the pub­lic re­ally think they are be­ing well pro­tected be­cause the Food Author­ity is telling them Bills doesn’t have a ther­mo­stat?’’ Gold­man tells De­tec­tive .

His in­dus­try or­gan­i­sa­tion has been lob­by­ing the state gov­ern­ment for nine years to in­tro­duce safe food han­dling reg­u­la­tions.

He says the author­ity would do far bet­ter to fo­cus its at­ten­tion on the lack of reg­u­la­tion of those set­ting up restau­rants. ‘‘ If the Gov­ern­ment is se­ri­ous about (food safety stan­dards), why don’t they bring in manda­tory safe food-han­dling reg­u­la­tions and train­ing for ev­ery­body in the food ser­vice in­dus­try?

‘‘ If you were a hair­dresser, you would have to get a li­cence. Same as if you were an ac­coun­tant, a plum­ber, an elec­tri­cian or any­thing else. You need noth­ing to be­come a restau­ra­teur in this state: only the will­ing­ness to lose a few hun­dred thou­sand dol­lars or the abil­ity to find some­one who’s will­ing to lend it to you and lose it them­selves,’’ he says.

A BIT of con­tro­versy from abroad now. De­tec­tive can stom­ach most things — she pos­i­tively lunges for the chicken’s feet on a yum cha trol­ley and never met a dish of tripe she didn’t like — but even she had to reach for the smelling salts af­ter read­ing that TV chef Gor­don Ram­say ate raw puf­fin heart while film­ing his new The FWord se­ries in Ice­land. Bri­tish an­i­mal rights ac­tivists and view­ers who watched the cele­riac-faced chef eat the seabird’s heart af­ter it was caught in an over­sized but­ter­fly net are up in arms. De­tec­tive is pleased to note that the crea­ture man­aged to bite the potty-mouthed chef on the shnozz be­fore it met its fate. Many oth­ers, she sus­pects, would have rel­ished the op­por­tu­nity.

MEAN­WHILE, an­other Bri­tish cook be­hav­ing badly (un­wit­tingly this time) is the gnomish Antony Wor­rall Thompson, who has ex­tolled the virtues of a mys­te­ri­ous weed called hen­bane as a ter­rific in­gre­di­ent to add to a salad. He later apol­o­gised to the read­ers of Bri­tain’s Healthy&Or­gan­icLiv­ing mag­a­zine when it was pointed out that hen­bane was, in fact, toxic and could kill in ex­treme cir­cum­stances.

The be­fud­dled chef clar­i­fied that he’d ac­tu­ally meant to rec­om­mend a wild herb called fat hen (per­fectly ed­i­ble, which is nice), not hen­bane, the name of which orig­i­nates from the phrase ‘‘ killer of hens’’.

Wor­rall Thompson told the BBC the mix-up was ‘‘ em­bar­rass­ing but one of those gen­uine mis­takes’’. De­tec­tive steered clear of the side salad when she vis­ited his Barnes Grill in south­west Lon­don ear­lier this month, just to be on the safe side. www.aw­ton­line.co.uk. CON­GRAT­U­LA­TIONS to this year’s

Restau­rant Guide award-win­ners. Syd­ney’s Quay took top hon­ours as 2009 restau­rant of the year, while Vic­to­ria’s Royal Mail Ho­tel, in Dunkeld, was voted re­gional restau­rant of the year. The best new restau­rant gong went to Bistro Guillaume, in Melbourne. Ben Mil­gate and Elvis Abra­hanow­icz of Syd­ney’s Bodega were named best new tal­ent, while Liz Carey and Paul Guiney, of Syd­ney’s Uni­ver­sal, were

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